Sergio Perez said he planned to stay on the Formula One podium for the rest of the year after finishing runner-up to dominant Red Bull team mate Max Verstappen in Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix.
The second place was the Mexican’s best result since Miami in May, when he was also second, and ended a poor run of results.
Perez is second overall in the championship but now a massive 125 points behind Verstappen - who has won the last eight - after 12 of 22 races.
“I really look forward to not leaving the podium any more from now until the end of the year. It’s been a bit of a rough patch, but I think we overcome and today we managed to score great points for the team,” he said.
The podium was Perez’s seventh of a campaign that has also brought him two wins.
While it came as a relief, there was no escaping also the fact that he had started on the front row, taking the lead on the opening lap, while Verstappen lined up sixth on the grid but still won by 22.3 seconds.
The next race is Verstappen’s home Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort, which the double world champion has won for the last two years in front of his adoring fans.
“I really need the summer break. It’s been really intense the last few races, so I look forward to it and come back very strong for Zandvoort,” said Perez.
“It gives us a bit of time to go deep on our analysis, see what we can improve for the next 10 races and basically keep the momentum going for the end of the season.”
Perez also explained a cryptic comment to team boss Christian Horner after qualifying, when the Mexican said over the radio “You’ll talk to me now” without explaining the significance.
“It was a joke,” he said. “He came before qualifying and said ‘If you’re not in the top three, I will not talk to you the rest of the weekend’. So he was talking to me the rest of the weekend.”